The context in which this statement is found indicates that the name before which every knee shall bow in a coming day is the name ‘Jesus’. It is linked with glory and with the day when His mighty triumph shall be declared, and all creation shall acknowledge it. Is this the reason that today that precious name is dragged down in human conversation, sometimes to the lowest depths possible? Are we not justified in saying that this is the work of Satan, as he seeks constantly to rob the Lord Jesus of His rightful position? He would have men to decide that He is only a man, and that is the level that Satan would place Him in the eyes of others.
In a sense we can understand this happening, indeed we would have expected it in a world dominated by the prince of this world, and in the light of the statement in 1 Corinthians 12. 3 that no man can call Jesus ‘Lord’ apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. But there is also, alas, an increasing tendency for Christians to go along this pathway as well, and it is becoming increasingly normal to listen to the preacher speaking of ‘Jesus’ and forgetting to stress His Lordship. In consequence less and less is the dignity of the Lord emphasized.
Dr. Campbell Morgan, in his book ‘The Crises of the Christ’ makes the point that when He was named ‘Jesus’ before His birth the name was a prophecy of the work He was going to do – Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins’, Matt. 1. 21. In connection with that work, which included His childhood and youth, and the years of public ministry, climaxed by the cross, it was natural and right that men should call Him ‘Jesus’. It was natural, too, that in the days preceding His ascension the name should still be used. But why not now?
God’s thoughts concerning this matter can clearly be seen in the Scriptures which He inspired men to write. In the Acts of the Apostles which covers a transitional period, and when, so frequently, Jews were in the picture, we find the name ‘Jesus’ used 34 times. As the preachers of the gospel moved out into Gentile territory, local churches were formed, and subsequently correspondence began to pass between the newly established churches and the apostolic writers, and it is noteworthy that the name ‘Jesus’ almost disappears. From the letter to the Romans to the book of Revelation it is used only 24 times, and then there is an obvious reason for its usage. But clearly its use is exceptional, not normal. Thirteen of the letters do not use the name at all. Romans has three occasions, 1 Corinthians has one; 2 Corinthians has four; Ephesians one; Philippians one, in the well-known passage in chapter 2; Hebrews has seven – not surprising as the letter was intended for Jews; Revelation has five. This leaves thirteen epistles with no reference at all. Again, it must be said that the use of the name by the Holy Spirit is exceptional, and it is only when the context justifies it. The names which are generally chosen are those which emphasise His dignity and His deity, e.g. Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ our Lord, the Lord.
To the writer it seems inescapably evident that God would have us, in our references to our Saviour, give Him His rightful place. It is sad, and serious, that today so many who have accepted the high office of being preachers of the word demean their Lord to the level of a man by their constant reference to ‘Jesus’. This is not to say that the name ‘Jesus’ should never be used – there will frequently be occasions when this is the appropriate name to use, and many lovely hymns are filled with it. In working among children, while the personal name will be readily appreciated and teaching material will more likely be concerned with the earthly life and ministry of our Lord, we must not be afraid of teaching the young that Jesus is both Lord and Christ.
God has reserved a coming day when He will clearly reveal to the universe the full and majestic meaning of that name, when the prophetic announcement by the angel of the name ‘Jesus’ will be unfolded in its glorious splendour to a wondering and worshipping universe.
Let us, in our lives and service anticipate that day as we acknowledge His Lordship in our conversation, and whatever we do. Let us give Him His rightful place as the Holy spirit has done in the Scriptures. He is LORD.
’Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call Him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.